Colleen's Reviews > Austenland

Austenland by Shannon Hale
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's review
Oct 20, 2007

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Recommended for: Those who seek Mr. Darcy

I've been reproached for my tendency to judge books by their cover, the cardinal GoodReads sin. But I do. This book was no exception. The cover design is whimsical and charming, especially the upside-down Pemberly on the back. However, I became cautious when I saw the author's picture in the back... she looks about 12, or at least 22, has buggy eyes, and her smile is just too smug.

However, I sincerely take all of that back after reading this (I believe her first) book. I can even forgive that she lives in that sin cavern we call Salt Lake City. She played the harp of my heart like a... poker game. As she knows, Mr. Darcy is sullen, proud, and exactly the man I need. I believe my girlfriends would agree. That should be next season's Bachelor. For once I would audition.

The main lady in this novel is Jane Erstwhile. That's a fake name for a fake setting-- Pembrook Park, where Jane takes her vacation on her Great Aunt Carolyn's buck. For three weeks, she squeezes into corsets, wanders garden paths until her petticoats are a full inch in mud, and plays around with the gardener, who swills root beer and illegally watches basketball of an evening.

Darcy, or Mr. Nobely in this case, lurks nearby, and never fails to increase Jane's heart rate. Mine, too. Nowhere near as approachable as the gardener, Darc... er, Mr. Nobely lives up to his name in his devotion to Jane. Twists, falls, and silliness lead to a heart-breakingly beautiful ending. Jane's voice is a buoy throughout. You'll hear your own voice in hers, just as I did. A valiant first effort for a lovely author. Brava.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Colleen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Colleen Thanks for being so well informed, Megan!

message 2: by Tanya (new) - added it

Tanya W Hey Colleen- I have read Princess Academy and Goose Girl. I believe she is better known for young adult "fairy tales". I really like her writing but haven't read this yet. I know a few people who were reticent once upon a time about coming to live in SLC for a job... but truly most people I know love it here including the people you would least expect to love it. It does have its own unique culture, but generally attracts nature lovers and family oriented people and generally good people. On my street there are 18 homes. Of those 18, 10 are active LDS families. The other 8 are of other faiths or no faith. Everyone gets along and is friendly, most know the rest by name. I hope you haven't had a bad experience with a member of my faith... but if you have, you must know there are bad apples in every bunch. There are people of every faith who don't live their lives the way they should. There are plenty of Christians of the many Christian faiths who hardly understand the greatest commandments to love God and love our neighbor. I hope you won't judge a whole group of people based on a bad experience or rumor. Tanya : )

message 3: by Natalie (new)

Natalie This is off topic, but what about SLC makes you call it a sin cavern?

Colleen Natalie wrote: "This is off topic, but what about SLC makes you call it a sin cavern?"

Trying to be facetious/ironic... clearly not too successful at that.

Lydia LaPutka Try some of Shannon Hale's youth fiction. She is a fabulous writer! I met her at a book signing, and she is genuinely kind and appreciative of her readers. P.S.: I live in Utah and only WISH it was a sin cavern! ;-)

Colleen Hi Lydia, thanks I will check out Ms. Hale. And haha, I love your UT comment. :)

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